BRITISH Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind will tell Chinese officials during his first visit to Beijing next month that the British Government does not want to 'sneak out of the territory through the back-door quietly'. Sources say there are signs Beijing wants a 'smaller' ceremony to mark the handover - followed by big celebrations on and after July 1, 1997. But the source said that 'had not been reflected' in the first expert talks at the Joint Liaison Group earlier this month. A Chinese-language newspaper reported yesterday that Beijing had insisted the sovereignty transfer ceremony should be simple. Governor Chris Patten said yesterday the ceremony should be 'dignified, solemn' and 'keeping with the historic event that we are marking in Hong Kong'. 'Everybody has to remember that the eyes of the whole world will be on Hong Kong at the end of June in 1997, and perhaps to some time beyond that as well,' he said. He said the issue was being negotiated in the Joint Liaison Group. The handover talks followed an agreement between Mr Rifkind and his Chinese counterpart Qian Qichen during his landmark visit to London in October. The sides agreed the ceremony should be 'solemn, grand and decent'. A senior government source said the Chinese side had two sets of ceremonies in mind - one at midnight and another after that. 'But one must bear in mind that it's history in the making and the whole world is watching.' He said a second expert meeting would be held next month following Mr Rifkind's visit. An early decision, the source said, should be taken on the venue for the ceremony so other detailed aspects of the ceremony could proceed. Another government source said it would not be good for Hong Kong if the sovereignty changeover ceremony turned out to be 'one-sided'. 'Nobody can deny the contributions of Britain to Hong Kong's success,' he said, adding the ceremony should fit in with the historical fact. There were two parties involved, he said, 'to end one historical process and begin another'. The source said he hoped the Chinese side would not turn what should be a historic occasion into a petty political row.